Hyderabad: The clash between the short-term goals of Jana Sena chief Pawan Kalyan and the long-term strategy of the BJP leadership will likely result in a snapping of the fragile relations between the two parties in Andhra Pradesh.
Pawan aims to remove the formidable YSR Congress from power in the 2024 polls. The BJP is no mood to derail Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy and, in the long term, plans to fill the space of the principal Opposition in the hoped-for event of decimation of the Telugu Desam. The TD is currently facing serious political odds.
According to insiders, the film star’s announcement in the recent public meeting that he had been waiting for the BJP’s roadmap for 2024 was a prelude to the planned distancing from the BJP. His assertion that he would ensure no split in the anti-incumbency vote is also seen as proof of the party’s drift towards TD.
"It is an open secret that Jagan is surviving solely on the cash transfer (welfare) schemes. The antipathy against the government on other counts can be seen even among the beneficiaries of the schemes," said a senior Jana Sena leader.
In the same breath, he complained against the BJP central leadership, saying it was doing nothing to discipline the state government in relation to its financial "mis-management".
Sources said Pawan Kalyan decided to stop playing second fiddle in a possible electoral alliance with the TD because he is keen on defeating Jagan.
"The Jana Sena would not mind organic growth and end up a minor partner, but a clear strategy to take on Jagan should be formulated right now," said a leader adding that the BJP always maintained that it would soon come up with a road map, which it never did.
The Jana Sena’s strength in a few pockets of the coastal districts and its recent performance in local body polls, though negligible compared to the massive victory of the ruling party, kindled fresh hopes on a united opposition giving a tough fight to the YCP. "It will be difficult to neutralize Jagan as long as his cash splurge via welfare schemes goes on unhindered. But the BJP is extending a cosy blanket to Jagan," the Jana Sena leader felt.
The BJP believes that the preparedness of neither the Jana Sena nor the BJP is sufficient enough to dislodge Jagan. Its leaders say that the BJP was also not happy with Pawan’s inconsistency and part-time politics.
Explaining that the BJP has its hidden agenda in projecting a "saviour of Jagan" image, a senior BJP leader said the agenda was two-fold. "First, we successfully proved that Jagan did bend to the BJP central leadership and the latter is holding the control. Secondly, we are also trying to explain to people that it is the BJP that is helping completion of mega projects like Polavaram and positioning the party for the future," he stated.